Remnants of 2017

For my final entry in the 52 Week Writing Challenge I thought I’d share a few random pieces written throughout the year. These were part of a group I meet with and include the inciting prompt. Enjoy!

Prompt: inside your refrigerator/freezer

Damn it’s cold in here. And dark.
Sure, the cold slows down the aging process but, c’mon.
I’ve been here for months along with the Indian family, the cute Mexican couple, a whole group of Asians.
We’re like the “It’s A Small World” ride in here!
I’m stuffed, literally, between two fat guys and some bloke who smells like fish. What kind of fish is stick-shaped anyway?
Oh! The light just came on!
Pick me!
Hey! What do I look like, chopped liver?!

Oh. Yeah.

Prompt: Place/setting as character

Rounding the corner I see it, mid-gargle with a mouth full of festering muck. Not chest deep should you wade in but, oh god, you might consider death a better option that splashing around.

Bobbing rafts of styrofoam that never decompose make a perch for a suicidal crane.

“Fly away!” I heard a man yell from the pattern baldness of the shore.

There’s not a single fish. Of course, If I saw one I expect it would be tentacled, hoofed and screaming from new lungs as it escaped.

This is the refuse of the bay. The storage of the streets. This is Lake Merritt.

Prompt: Food about the character

Simon likes cheese.

Not that high falutin’ gruyere, Mount Tam brie or aged pecorino. Simon likes American cheese.

(Nevermind that American cheese, like Swiss, totally made up. In fact, Simon knows it’s made of orange dye number 3 {at a ratio of 8:1} and polyunsaturaged-hydrogenated-grastobypass-inducing-oil and but loves it nonetheless.)

At the country club, where he meets friends after a game of Cricket, Simon orders the cheese plate. The staff know Simon’s predilections well and acquiesce serving him an ornate oak platter with the most exquisitely shaped cheese wedges, strips as thick as toes, and even hunks of parchment-aged American cheese.

Simon smiles at the plate, studies each morsel and waves a hand wafting the scent to his proboscis — SSSSSSSNNNNIIIIIIFFFFF

Then, delicately, he selects a cracker, a candied walnut, a dab of local honey and folds several of the slices of this makeshift open-faced sandwich into his waiting mouth.

With a gulp and a sigh he closes his eyes and thinks: American cheese.

Americann cheeeeese.

Prompt: These brave poets, always one step ahead

When the world was black
Let’s call it not the world, but the stage.
Right! The stage.

So, there it was in all black.
We were all stationary, plant-like, rooted
And between her fingers she paused for effect
then snapped!

And there was a spotlight!
An egg-shape glow of blue-yellow
captured the players huddled ‘round one another

And when that sun shone, we unfurled!
Limbs and legs and eyelashes opening
Where we once were gathered close as siblings
we spread

Out heels slid and our arms reached
Toward the edge of the light
Touching the rim of our circle of warmth
We pushed at the perimeter
Until we were once again reaching into the nothing
But our hearts full
Our energies boundless
We stretched as far as light would bend
And pressed our will against the fringe
Until we created more
And these motions ever a step beyond
As more of the stage illuminated

These brave poets with chests and chins
Forced the dark ever further
And we, never knowing the boundaries
never caring the reason
Convinced the light to follow us

Week 52 of 52 Week Writing Challenge | Music to write by: The Innocents by Erasure

J. Curtis is writer and product developer living in the East Bay. He’s always hatching another story idea and balancing a dozen interesting projects at work and home.

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